reflections on civil disobedience 2

From UUCA Member Rev. Joy Christi Przestwor, arrested June 10, 2013

What we would like to do is change the world–make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended them to do. And, by fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of the workers, the poor, of the destitute–the rights of the worthy and the unworthy poor, in other words–we can, to a certain extent, change the world. (Dorothy Day)

As I grew up in Indiana, Dorothy Day inspired me to become an activist. I began protesting injustices when several people from our working class neighborhoods, including my father, found themselves without jobs in the 1950s. I also was a young Roman Catholic nun during the race riots in Detroit and Chicago as well as a seminarian candidate at Harvard during the apartheid demonstrations, the feminist, and LGBTQ movements.

As I watched, listened, and wondered where our NC legislators were heading, I had no choice but to stand up and be heard as one who will fight unceasingly.   As an educator, I always challenged my students to have their actions represent who they wanted to be and become.   I strongly urged them to take whatever action became necessary to be a responsible and responsive citizen. Civil Disobedience has been my chosen way of action through my own history; of being an ally to all those left out of any process of governance, those without any voice or seat at the table.

As an interfaith priest in the Liberal Catholic Faith and a candidate for fellowship in the Unitarian Universalist Association, I can attest to this action as part of our historical call for Social Justice. Our moral leaders in the NAACP have called us to stand with them.  I fully intend to always be an ally and be among those speaking out for those left behind. So, my civil disobedience was done with great humility and with the determination that supports the creation of love among and for us all.   My call to shared ministry has been based on the concept of bringing “the Beloved Community” into reality.  In this moment, NC requires me to put my ministerial call into action by being present, standing up, and challenging our state legislators to be just, fair, and compassionate.

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